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New or pre-owned caravan - what’s best for you?

18/01/2021
blog / advice / new caravans / pre-owned caravans / holiday


If you’re thinking about purchasing your first caravan, or simply trading your existing one in, the first thing to decide is if you’re going to opt for a new model or a pre-owned one.

This will largely depend on your budget, but there are many other things to consider too, so read on to discover what these are!

First caravanBudget

How much do you have to spend? Do you have a strict budget or can you be flexible depending on what you can get for your money? It’s good to have an idea about these two things so that you don’t don’t overstretch yourself or waste time daydreaming about models way out of your reach.

It’s important to get the balance right; you must go for a caravan that you want and that has all the features and facilities that you desire and need, but you also have to feel that what you’ve spent is worth it. It’s not a good idea to spend more than you were truly comfortable with and find yourself regretting it weeks or months later. Similarly, skimping too much on all the things you set out to get will leave you feeling disappointed with your purchase which is not ideal either.

Start off by doing some research - price up different manufacturers and models and compare the options. Which ones appeal to you and have the features that you need to fulfil your requirements? See what the new models cost and then investigate what those models (or the slightly older versions of those models, which may have a slightly different name) are going for. If you want to, you can get in touch with your local dealer to help you with this.

At Winchester Caravans and Motorhomes, the new caravans that we stock are Bailey and Swift. Check out the ranges online to see what the costs of the different models are and go from there.

What can I get for my money?

£16,500 - £21,500 will get you an entry-level family caravan.
£22,500 – £27,000 would give you the choice of family touring caravans with the latest layouts.
£27,000 – £35,000 could buy you a luxury tourer with high levels of equipment and furnishings.

You’ll find the equivalent pre-owned models for less and how much you pay will depend on the brand and model you go for, but also how old you are willing to go. The average life of a caravan is 14 years +, perhaps longer depending on care and use, so if you buy a pre-owned one, keep that in mind when calculating the ‘value’ of it.

Stand by your must-haves!

Whether you’re buying new or pre-owned, there are bound to be a number of things that you’d really like to have in your new van. Whether that’s a specific layout or the latest tech, make a note of them all and make sure you achieve the ones that are really important to you. If you compromise too much, you won’t be happy with your purchase in the long run and you’ll end up wanting to trade it in. What things might be on your wishlist?

  • A specific layout - this could be the berth size, position of the washroom, the configuration of the beds to name a few options.
  • A large washroom - Swift caravans tend to have larger washrooms so keep this in mind if this is important to you.
  • Spacious living area - Bailey have generous dimensions for lounging - especially in their 8ft-wide caravans.
  • Extra storage space - make sure the model you go for has enough space for all your kit!
  • A focus on technology - for example, the Swift Command system allows you to control all the systems within your caravan at the touch of a button!

Availability for 2021

Due to unprecedented demand in 2020, largely due to coronavirus pandemic for two reasons - firstly, many people who would normally have travelled abroad opted to caravan instead, and secondly, caravan production was paused for several months and when it resumed, it was in a limited, socially-distanced capacity, meaning that fewer caravans were produced last year. Those reduced numbers have continued into the 2021 production as staff numbers have remained restricted.

That said, 2021 models are still available to order, but be sure to get yours in sooner rather than later to avoid disappointment. As for pre-owned models, these too are in shorter supply as fewer people are upgrading to new ones, so it may take longer to locate the ideal caravan for you, but be patient and wait for the right model. Rest assured that all good dealerships will be seeking out high quality caravans to stock in their showrooms!

Pros and cons of buying new

THE PROS

IT'S ALL YOURS

You’ll be the first owner and everything will be brand new and completely unused. It will be immaculate and it won’t have done any miles as it’ll have come straight from the factory! It’s an amazing feeling to buy something new and will benefit from that delicious ‘new’ smell!

TAILOR IT TO YOU

When you buy new, you can choose the model and spec you like and tailor it to meet your own taste and requirements. This is everything from bed configuration to layout, upholstery to appliances. The options are endless!

LOW MAINTENANCE

New caravans are low maintenance - it shouldn’t need anything doing to it for a good while, and should something come up that needs attention, you can rest assured that it will all be taken care of under your comprehensive manufacturer's warranty.

BUY WITH CONFIDENCE

If you buy your new caravan from an NCC-approved dealer like Winchester Caravans and Motorhomes, any problems will be taken care of as soon as they arise. All of our new caravans come with a full factory-backed warranty to give you complete peace of mind.

THE CONS

MONEY, MONEY, MONEY

There’s really only one - the fact that buying a new caravan comes with a higher price tag than buying a pre-owned one. But you may feel that the pros of buying new outweigh this. It could also be said that by buying new you will experience an element of depreciation in the first year - but as long as you keep hold of your caravan for at least a couple of years, you should come out on top.

Pros and cons of buying pre-owned

THE PROS

IT’LL COST YOU LESS

The initial cost to you will be a lot less than for a new caravan, which means you get yourself a lovely home from home on a smaller budget. This may also free up more money for you to actually go away on trips in your new caravan!

LESS IS MORE

Spending less on a pre-owned caravan rather than a new one will allow you to get a higher spec or more spacious model meaning that in this case, less really is more! You may end up with extra equipment and space that you wouldn’t have been able to afford if you’d gone for a new model.

AVOID THE PINCH

If you buy a model that’s more than a year old, you’ll avoid the first sharp depreciation drop. So buying a year-old model means that you’ll get a nearly-new caravan for a much lower price.

WARRANTY OPTION

If you buy from an NCC-approved dealer like us, the caravan should come with a warranty. Winchester Caravans and Motorhomes offer an Approved Warranty Scheme, giving great coverage. We provide 12 months’ cover on caravans up to 5 model years old, 6 months’ cover on caravans up to 10 model years old and 3 months’ cover on caravans over 10 years old.

Please also note that any remaining balance of the original manufacturer’s in-house warranty can be transferred to you as the new owner. This is done directly with the manufacturer and usually applies to caravans up to three years old.

THE CONS

WHY ARE THE OWNERS SELLING IT?

You never know why the owners have decided to sell a caravan so you must always be on the lookout for any issues that may cause problems in the future. This could be a fault or the fact that something about the model isn’t practical or ideal.

YOU CAN ONLY CHOOSE FROM WHAT’S AVAILABLE

The selection of available caravans may be fewer and if there are certain features that you are looking for, you’ll have to be on the ball and willing to spend longer searching for just the right model. Compromises may have to be made!

Check out our available new and pre-owned ranges online and get in touch if you’d like to know more about any of our stock. If you’re still unsure about whether to go for new or pre-owned, we’re happy to chat through your options with you.



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